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D-Link DIR-818LW Wireless AC750 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router review: Compact and easy to use, but underpowered

What makes the DIR-818LW different from the routers of other vendors is the included cloud feature. Basically, you can use the router's interface to link it with a free MyDLink account. After that, you can access the router's settings by going to the MyDLink portal from anywhere in the world. You can also use the My D-Link Lite mobile app (for iOS and Android) for the same purpose. I find the use of this cloud feature a convenient way to check on your home network when you're on the go. Note, however, that this feature only allows for accessing and changing a few basic settings of the router. For full access, you will still need to use the Web interface, which can be made available via the Internet if you know how to configure the Dynamic DNS feature.

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The DIR-818LW's interface is very similar to that of other D-Link routers: organized and very easy to use.

Dong Ngo/CNET

Low-end Wi-Fi specs

The DIR-818LW is a true dual-band router that supports the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. However, it has the low-end of the Wi-Fi spectrum. On the 5GHz band, it supports the lowest tier (single stream) of 802.11ac with the top speed of 433Mbps. On the 2.4GHz band, it supports the second tier (dual-stream) of 802.11n with the top speed of 300Mbps -- read more about Wi-Fi standards here. These are the theoretical speeds -- the real-world speeds of a Wi-Fi connection is always much slower than advertised speeds.

With its current specs, despite support for the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, the DIR-818LW, at best, is about as good as an N600 802.11n router, something that was cutting-edge five or six years ago.

Stable but slow performance

As expected, the DIR-818LW didn't blow me away at all with its performance. At close range, it registered sustained real-world speeds of just 136Mbps and 36Mbps on the 5GHz band and 2.4GHz band, respectively. When I increased the range to 100 feet, it scored just 41Mbps and 8Mbps, respectively.

CNET Labs' AC1750 routers' 5GHz Wi-Fi performance

Buffalo WZR-1750DHPD
222.1
179.2
Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station
202.3
132.1
Trendnet TEW-812DRU
195.3
160
Netgear R6300
178.8
144.8
D-Link DIR-868L
178
161.5
Amp Wireless RTA15
141
64.8
D-Link DIR-818LW
136.2
40.1
Cisco Linksys EA6500
124.6
105.7
Asus RT-56U
112.6
76.2

Legend:

Short Range
Long Range

Note:

Measured in megabits per second

The router didn't have very long range, either. Technically, I could detect its signal from quite far away but effectively the range is about 120-feet away. Further than that and it's either hard to connect to or to have a stable connection.

Within this range the route offered stable Wi-Fi connections in my testing. In a 24-hour stress test, where it was set to work with multiple Wi-Fi clients, on both bands, to transfer a large amount of data back and fourth, the router didn't disconnect once.

CNET Labs' AC1750 routers' 802.11n (2.4GHz) Wi-Fi performance

Buffalo WZR-1750DHPD
82.5
18.7
Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station
79.4
38.4
D-Link DIR-868L
63.3
55.6
Asus RT-56U
57.2
34.4
Trendnet TEW-812DRU
52.8
37
Netgear R6300
51.2
41.6
Cisco Linksys EA6500
48.8
33.6
D-Link DIR-818LW
36.3
8.1

Legend:

Short Range
Long Range

Note:

Measured in megabits per second

Note that I tested the router at CNET's offices, where there are walls and many Wi-Fi devices that are out of my control. Generally, walls shorten the reach of a Wi-Fi signal, and other Wi-Fi devices create interference. As with all Wi-Fi routers, your results may vary depending on where you live.

I also tried out the router's USB port with a portable drive and found that, even via a Gigabit wired connection, the data rate -- somewhere around 48Mbps to 56Mbps -- wasn't fast enough for the router to be a robust network storage solution. You'll need to get a dedicated NAS server for this.

Conclusion

The D-Link Wireless AC750 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router is a bit of a dilemma. It's not powerful enough to be a great home router. On the other hand, it would make a great travel router, but it's still a bit too big physically. In the end, it would do well only in a small home. But even then, for $80 you'll get a much better deal with a good N600 router, such as the Asus RT-N56U . I'd only recommend it if you can get it cheaper -- Amazon is currently selling the white version for around $60.

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